South Bay Grand Prix
South Bay Grand Prix
Ask The Official

Ball interference between first and second serves
by Naylor

Q: If a player is in between first and second serve, (and not in the motion or beginning their second serve), and the reciever runs to the center of the court and hits a stray ball back to the opposite court, is the server entitled to 2 serves? or are they to continue on with the second serve?

A: Second serve. Even if the server had to retrieve the ball, the receiver decides. Rule 23, USTA Comment 23.3 states, "The time it takes to clear a ball that comes onto the court between the first and second serves is not considered sufficient time to warrant the server receiving two serves unless this time is so prolonged as to constitute an interruption. The receiver is the judge of whether the delay is sufficiently prolonged to justify giving the server two serves." However, if the server's second service motion is interrupted by a ball coming onto the court, he is entitled to two serves.

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Jim Flood Jim Flood has been a USTA Professional Tennis Official for many years and has officiated at many of the biggest and most prestigious USTA professional tournaments, including the U.S. Open. He is also a computer instructor and multimedia specialist and also fills his spare time as a commercial actor and voiceover artist. Jim's motto is: "Play by the rules."

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